Wednesday, August 27, 2008
After reading PastaQueen's recent post about this article, I thought I'd go ahead with the trend and contemplate on social behaviors and eating habits.
A group of women ordering the same meal seems innocent enough — unremarkable, even — but there's often something far more complicated lurking beneath the surface. "Women are amazingly accurate at knowing how much other women around them eat," says Patricia Pliner, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto at Mississauga. "Whether their friends polish off their plates has a powerful effect on what they eat." This need to consume no less or no more than the next girl is almost visceral — and many who experience it would sooner admit to a cocaine habit than a competitive-eating one.
Personally I've rarely experienced the phenomenon know as competitive eating. I've never really contemplated on what my friends were eating, nor did I think they would judge me on what appeared on my plate. Well....everyone except my nonna who clearly noticed and would judge.
The concept frankly scares the crap out of me! What an archaic instinct! It isn't as if we still wear animal skins and must compete with each other for the most attractive male.
I guess it's just another example of females comparing themselves to another. It's the underlying root of eating disorders too..."She's so thin and I'm so fat...must. be. thinner."
Why must it be so important to be exactly alike? Granted, I'm not knocking healthy food choices, but to choose something based on what another woman is eating...that's just downright silly isn't it?
You should choose what you eat based on looking great for yourself, not because someone ordered a chicken salad and you don't want to look like a pig!
Women, eat what you want, and if you eat healthily and less do so because You want to. Look great for yourself....it's much better motivation than looking good for someone else. I've heard, and believe that the key to losing weight permanently is in doing so for yourself. I'm on that journey right now, and it's so much easier than doing so for someone else.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Today I really felt like pizza. Ever gotten that craving that you just had to have?
So I called my husband and realized we had a gift card to a local eatery, so we used it to buy two personal pizzas and he came up to eat with me.
Across the room from where I sit is the security guard.
He's very trim. But not emaciated, not that I noticed anyway.
He asks my why our food pantry is unlocked and I let him know that it's fine because we give out food on Thursday so I leave it unlocked most of the day.
Then he looks helplessly at me and asks if he could have some food. I give him a food box.
I notice him staring at our left over pizzas which we had just momentarily stopped stuffing our face with. And it hit me. He really is hungry.....
So I offered him some chicken and mushroom pizza, and he gladly said he was so hungry that he'd accept.
I can't imagine how hard it is for someone who cannot afford food to watch two very overweight fairly well off individuals stuff their face with huge slices of pizza.
I almost disgusted myself.
I wonder, if we spent a little less eating out on a whim and put that money toward feeding the hungry.....well I doubt there'd be anyone hungry left.
I guess it never crossed my mind how many in America go hungry, especially with the medias focus on the obesity epidemic.
I'm an overeater, and today is the first day that has literally disgusted me. Ouch. Today is the last day I ever overeat.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
One of the main reasons that I've really wanted to lose weight has had to do with childbirth and the risk that being obese causes both to the mother and the fetus.
I'm not saying that overweight/obese women cannot have healthy children. I'm sure they do and quite frequently. However when looking at my personal life and looking towards the person that I'd like to eventually be, I see no reason to make my life any harder than it has to be.
Pregnancy is like running a marathon and the healthier you are, the easier it will be. I don't feel great in the body I'm in now so I cannot imagine what it would feel like to be this size and pregnant.
The complications for women of larger body types during the actual birth inlude:
- Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a condition which causes high blood pressure, fluid retention, and swelling during pregnancy. When serious, preeclampsia can restrict placental blood flow, endangering baby.
- Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It prevents your body from breaking down sugar and can put your baby at risk for gaining too much weight in utero.
- Cesarean Section: Women who are obese during pregnancy have an increased risk of experiencing problems during delivery. Labor is more likely to be slow and prolonged, increasing the likelihood of cesarean section.
- Postpartum Infection: Obesity during pregnancy also makes you more vulnerable to experiencing a difficult postpartum recovery. In particular, if you have had a c-section, you are at risk for developing dangerous postpartum infections.
Complications for Baby
If you are obese during your pregnancy, you baby is also at risk for developing some dangerous health issues.
- Macrosoma: Macrosoma is a condition in which your baby puts on too much weight during development. This can complicate labor and delivery, making it difficult for your baby to enter and exit the birth canal. Some large babies have their shoulders injured during birth. This is known as shoulder dystonia.
- Neural Tube Defects: Babies born to obese mothers are also at increased risk of suffering dangerous neural tube defects during development. Neural tube defects, like spina bifida and anencephaly, are often associated with low levels of folic acid during the first trimester. These defects can frequently be detected early in pregnancy through the use of ultrasound imaging. However, women who are obese often produce poor ultrasounds. Because the ultrasound waves have trouble penetrating extra layers of fat, blurry images are produced. As a result, neural tube defects aren’t always detected in these babies.
- Childhood Obesity: Studies show that babies who are born to obese mothers are more likely to suffer from obesity by the time they reach the age of four. In one recent study, 29% of children born to obese mothers were also obese by the age of four, compared with only 9% of babies born to mothers of normal weight.
Enough of that for now. If you want to see some awesome birth pictures go here and oooh and ahhh. I'd like to use this photographer in my own birth.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Many women are calling Jennifer Love Hewitt simply another HollywoodHypocrite. A few months ago she was openly criticized about her weight gain, at which point she stood up for women's bodies everywhere by saying that hollywood has unrealistic standards.
Then just a few months later, she poses for US weekly with a new slimmer body. See here.
I do not however share the opinion that she is being hypocritical. In her new slimmer body she doesn't look anorexic, she looks slim.
It would be like criticizing someone for wearing make up or doing their hair or buying new clothes. I support every single woman's right to look the way that will make her feel the best.
In fact, I think it's hypocritical of the bigger bloggers to criticize her for losing weight. Just because she stands by the fact that Hollywood has unrealistic expectations doesn't mean she can't lose some chub that came on as probably a product of a bad eating habit and probably makes her feel better.
So Jennifer, for what it's worth, I support you're right to look the way you want to. And I'd never want your job. You never win. You lose weight, you get criticized, you gain it, you get criticized. So much for hollywood glamor.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
This book truly deserved .
It had all the makings of a truly inspiring story, and yet her feat was not so impossible that no one could also complete it. She kept humble and let people know the true hard facts of weight loss.
She didn't bore the reader with how she did it. There were no exercise tips or lists of foods she ate and those she condemned.
There was only her story.
Stories are how most of us relate. It's why we love reading blogs, why we crave the latest and greatest on Brad and Angelina, why we enjoy watching news stories of inspiring people. It's also why most of the worlds religious books are told in narrative format. Stories help us learn, help us empathize, help us relate.
It was her blunt, humble attitude that kept me interested. It was the details she provided about certain events and the way she sectioned her chapters as little vignettes. It was like peeking into someone's life at certain periods of time.
I could relate to everything she said, and I could empathize with every situation she described. Which lead me to "if she can do it, I can right?"
That's the glory of a story. Nobody ever was inspired by a list of exercises and foods to eat, nor are we ever inspired by a doctor's observation that we've got too much junk in the trunk. We're inspired by stories of those just like us who do things we've dreamed of. Only Jennette has the disarming ability of making it seem completely possible.
If you're looking for a good read, even if you have no weight to lose, please read this...I promise you'll thank me.
If you're interested in seeing more you can visit her blog here.
I'd recently read a post in another blogger's journal about how journaling had helped her lose weight.
As I turned this idea over in my head, it hit me.
*hits hand to forehead*
About a year ago I took a part time job as a receptionist so that I could also go to nursing school. Receptionists generally don't have a glamorous or even busy job and so I started journaling. I'd also started a new eating plan that would help me with my insulin resistance issues. I dropped about 25lbs in a 6 weeks period.
Eventually though I stopped journaling.
Why, i'm not sure. It probably had a lot to do with the seasonal depression I went through and my denial towards it.
Nonetheless my decision to stop journaling lead to gaining back the weight I'd lost and then some...a gift from good old depression.
Maybe the key to beating emotional eating is to write the emotions down before they 'eat' at you and you 'eat' because of them.
Maybe working through emotions on paper will help keep us from working them out in our pantry.
It's definitely worth a try and I have a sneaking suspicion that it will work. When we have to write down our emotions and feelings it makes us come to terms with them. We cannot 'numb' them by food anymore. We look them straight in the face.
Being honest about ourselves and our emotions is probably the best thing we can do for ourselves, weight lost or not.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Everyone's guilty of doing it sometimes. (unfortunately I lived the last year of my life like this) Yes, you know...emotional eating. Some of us eat when we're upset, others when we are happy, and still others when any strong emotion comes along.
But can bad moods put us in a larger behind?
Steve Johnson says this about weight gain and bad moods:
Our moods are highly affected by stress and it can be tough trying to control and maintain our moods and our weight. Being overweight and in a bad mood limits the energy we need to keep us focused on staying healthy and living a productive and happy life.
Steve, you are preaching to the choir!
So for those days when the baby cried all night, or you haven't seen the sun because it's snowed so much in days, or you had a fight with your husband, child, or boss (and in my case if a good friend cops out on helping you move)....or anything else mood hampering, here are several tips to get you out of the rut:
1. Recall something or someone who makes you happy and daydream about it or him/her.
Maybe it is about someone you love or a special trip or place you have been or want to go. I love sitting by the ocean listening to music. Once several years ago my daughter and I spent several evenings at an outdoor cafe in Santorini watching the sun set over the water. The cafe owners provided wonderful classical music on their music system. It is a place I often return to in my daydreams.
2. Find something or someone you are grateful for and express your gratitude to yourself, to your journal and/or to the person or others.
What is it that makes a day special? Is it seeing a beautiful bird in your backyard, watching the sunset over the ocean, skiing down a mountain or getting a clean bill of health from your doctor? Look around a bit. Write about it in your journal or just remember it.
3. Focus on what you have been ignoring. When was the last time you read a great novel, sat by a fire in the fireplace or had the oil in your car changed? Find something you have been meaning to do and do it!
4. Stay in the present. Appreciate the mundane by focusing on the activities you do without thinking like eating, bathing, walking. Take notice of how good the water feels in the shower, how soft or hard the ground feels on your feet as you walk or just silently eat your meal and really taste it.
5. Get some exercise - go for a walk, ride your bike, jog etc.
I had a coach who used one of those big exercise balls to change her mood. Bouncing on the ball made her giggle and forget whatever it was that was bothering her.
6. Take a break and have a cup of tea. Sit quietly for 15 minutes. Keep your mind blank.
Often the silence is enough to change my mood. Sitting quietly keeping my mind off everything brings me back. I particularly like doing this and having a cup of hot tea in the winter.
7. Pick a piece of uplifting music and listen to it. Show tunes make me smile! How about you? What kind of music makes you happy?
8. Find your own special place to gather strength. Popular possibilities are sitting by the ocean/river/pond, visiting a mountain range, sitting or standing by a lovely garden.
In the summer the best place for me to change my mood is by the ocean. I love to watch the waves come in and out. Planting my garden also gives me a boost. I've been told that looking up at mountains does the same for some people. Create a space in your home or office that gives you strength.
9. Watch a young child play. See how engaged they are in the moment and in what they are doing. Join them . I recently hosted a dinner party for 6 adults and 2 children. The 17 month old loved the jar of bubble liquid that I had bought to entertain him. He giggled with delight as I blew bubbles for him. As he laughed and chased the bubbles I couldn't help smile at his enthusiasm, happiness, and general contentment for the way things are.
10. Sing your favorite song with or without the radio or stereo on. Crowing worked for Mary Martin!
So here's to being happier and healthier.
May you slay the bad mood blues so that your behind doesn't pay your dues!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
If you've ever been to Rome and toured the Colosseum, you know that there is a room that is named "the vomitorium."
This room was used during times of feasting so that those who got too full on all the goodies could then use peacock feathers and vomit only. Then the feasting would continue.
Voila! We have the first certified bulimics!
Is it any wonder than with my Italian heritage that I have food issues?
My mom was born and raised in Rome, Italy and came over for college. She met my father and the rest is of course, history.
She also brought with her my Nonna. Nonna's behaviour about food always perplexed me. She had the nasty habit (and lack of tact) of calling people fat. Fat was the enemy. Fat was a thing to be avoided at all cost. Fat was simply not acceptable.
If you gained 5lbs she noticed it. So you'd think a woman with this kind of mentality would encourage everyone to eat healthily. You'd be very very wrong.
Every dish my Nonna served came with a helping of good old fat and carbohydrates and a very generous side of guilt and nagging.
Our relationship went like this:
"Here have some more pork!"
"You are so fat, my little chichoni! You're tummy is so big! "
And if I refused:
"Have some more farfalle."
"No thanks nonna, I'm dieting."
"But I cooked and slaved for you and you don't eat? This is no nice!"
Now you can see where my issues come from! Food was both the enemy and the golden calf.
My goal in life besides being healthy is to encourage a healthy relationship with food to my future children. I do not want them growing up like I did. Food brought both guilt and comfort, two extremes that led to my fat behind.
It's a never ending cycle. Eat, feel guilty about eating, eat to comfort the feelings of guilt, and then feel guilty again.
So here's to learning that food is fuel. I'll still enjoy my lasagna and suppli.... (for those that don't know what suppli is, it's a fried rice ball with mozzerella in the middle...they don't make it in America even in Italian-American cooking) but I'll stop eating a whole pizza when I'm sad.
Right now my living room looks a little like the above picture. You see, we're moving to a new apartment so everything is either in boxes or scattered around like a tornado hit it, and since I live in Texas this may actually be a possibility!
This situation makes eating right particularly a problem. I can't find a fork much less a can of tuna right now, and so cooking is out of the question for the next week or so.
While this is an annoying situation, it's only temporary. Usually I'm incredibly organized and will be even more so with all the new square footage we're adding. This does however bring up a great point.
Being organized makes eating healthy easier.
Jennette Fulda in her new book Half-Assed: A weight-loss memoir says this about being organized:
Creating meal plans and planning out shopping lists was really never my cup of tea....however waiting until I'm hungry, especially when I happen to be stranded at work and all that there happens to be is pizza in the breakroom and chocolate in my desk, is admittedly not the best idea either.
We've all been there . Eating healthy usually means staying away from take aways, drive through windows, and high fructose infused granola bars and for those of us who are on the run, it's essential to plan meals.
To get started this is a great site that helps you locate good foods. I particularly like frozen grapes as a snack because they are easy to grab. I can put them in the freezer at work and they make awesome snacks!
Hopefully my kitchen will be up and running soon and I too will be able to meal plan.
So here's to more planning.
P.S. For food planning try this site.
**Jennette Fulda also has a blog that preceded her new book. You can find it here and I highly recommend it.**
Monday, August 11, 2008
1 whole Avocado
a cup of strawberries
1 scoop of low carb vanilla ice cream or plain yogurt
nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
Blend all together and voila. Net carbs- under 15
Italian Tuna Salad
1 can of large tuna
red bell peppers
Blend tuna, mayo, pesto to taste. Chop the red bell peppers and add in. Put atop of spinach leaves and garnish with a little sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
In an alternate reality I'm a bubbly morning person who loves exercise and great healthy foods.
In my reality though I'm a night owl and in the mornings you'll find me stumbling around barely able to locate the bathroom. Exercise is farthest from my mind and my idea of healthy food is pizza and cookie dough.
My healthy lifestyle depends on my ability to become what I'm not. But how do I get there? How do I make myself learn good habits and how do I keep them up?
Some researchers say it takes 21 days to formulate good habits. That's 3 weeks for those who aren't so good with math.
So today is day 1 and here are my goals:
Habit 1- learn to love the mornings! This means going to bed before 1am and getting up at 6am.
Habit 2- good posture! With my ample bussom I'm in serious danger of becoming a humpback later in life
Habit 3- loving exercise!
Habit 4- loving good foods, this means: salad, spinach, etc.
So here's to a healthy lifestyle and healthy habits. Day 2 here I come!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
It never fails, unhappy feelings are my diet kryptonite.
Whenever sadness, stress, or frustration comes knocking, food tempts me and suddenly I'm craving white cheddar popcorn, cake, or my all time favorite: cookie dough.
But why does eating feel so good?
This article fro MSNBC might help.
'Why does eating feel so good? The secret may lie in the head, not in the stomach, U.S. researchers reported.
Tests on rats show that the appetite hormone ghrelin acts on pleasure receptors in the brain.
“In mice and rats ghrelin triggers the same neurons as delicious food, sexual experience, and many recreational drugs; that is, neurons that provide the sensation of pleasure and the expectation of reward,” the researchers write in Friday’s issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.'
So basically....Ghrelin, which we'll call the hungry hormone actually can trigger the same feelings as a sexual experience or drugs.
This is why I wholeheartedly believe that Overeating is as much a problem as alcoholism, drug usage, or even disorders like bulimia.
And this is why I believe that on a majority of people, diets can't work alone. For me at least, fat is only a symptom of a much larger issue.
Dieting alone would be like telling an alcoholic to just stop drinking. That doesn't work, which is why someone invented the 12 steps and the AA.
Overeaters need support, and we need to find the root of why we're eating. Is it to feel good? Is it because we're bored or sad or lonely or empty? If we don't find the answers, dieting is only like putting a bandaid on a gushing wound. It doesn't fix the problem.
So what's the answer? Counseling, group programs like Overeaters Anonymous? I think for everyone's it's probably a bit different, and I only know what's working for me. But like the great weight watchers commercials chime "Diet don't work." Not alone anyway.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
It's what everyone is talking about these days. Should it be accepted? Let's rage against the thin culture of our country, does it cause disease? How much fat is too much fat? When does it become unhealthy? etc etc etc
You could lose your mind reading article upon article about being fat. It usually ends up just making me hungry *cue a cupcake*.
So how do you navigate it?
I've explored it all and find that my views fit in nowhere in any movement.
Fat acceptance is wonderful but I wish they'd change the name to "body acceptance." I agree that not everyone can be a size 2, nor should everyone strive to be. I love the fat acceptance movements best when they are promoting a healthy body image.
What turns me off is those FA movers that are opposed to a fat women's right to lose weight.
Let's face it girls. There comes a point where fat is uncomfortable. The rolls get in the way, your body doesn't move as easily or nicely. Then you've got the health risks....snoring, sleeping disorders, heart disease. And in general it does come down to physics....it's what your bone structure can hold. If your 5'2 and 280lbs, your poor bones are crying out because nobody's 5'2 frame is built to hold that.
I also do not buy into the supermodel culture that magazine's promote. Very few people are built like that and we do not promote healthy body images by exposing young girls to this.
I'm more of an in-betweener I suppose. My life long goal is to be healthy and have a good relationship with food. I want to be at a size that fits my 5'4 frame right. Currently I'm not there but you'll see as you journey with me.
So here goes nothing.
Starting weight: 273
Goal weight: possibly 150 but I'll know more when I get there.